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George Galloway wins UK by-election in Rochdale

Ahmet Gurhan Kartal  | LONDON/AA- George Galloway, a former Labour MP, who openly criticizes the Israeli state over the bloodshed in Gaza has won by-election in Rochdale, according to the final result announced Thursday night.Galloway won 12,335 votes, almost 40% of the total with a 5,697-vote majority.“Keir Starmer, this is for Gaza,” he said in his victory speech, referring to much-criticized stance of the Labour leader over the atrocities committed by the Israeli army in Gaza, which have left more than 30,000 people dead since a Hamas attack on Oct. 7 last year.“You will pay a high price for the role that you have played in enabling, encouraging and covering for the catastrophe presently going on in occupied Gaza, in the Gaza Strip,” Galloway added.

Addressing Starmer further, Galloway also said his victory would “spark a movement, a landslide, a shifting of the tectonic plates, a score of parliamentary constituencies, beginning here in the north-west, in the West Midlands, in London, from Ilford to Bethnal Green & Bow.”

“Labour is on notice that they have lost the confidence of millions of their voters who loyally and traditionally voted for them generation after generation,” Galloway added, referring to voters who think Labour Party has failed to call for a cease-fire to stop unnecessary bloodshed in Gaza and occupied Palestinian territories, including Muslim voters who traditionally support the party.

Galloway added: “I’ve heard some of the narrative being spun around this election result this evening. Yes, it's true, that every Muslim is bitterly angry at Keir Starmer and his listing Labour party.

“But you would be very foolish, if you did not realize that millions of other citizens of our country are too.

“Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak are two cheeks of the same backside and they both got well and truly spanked tonight!”

Chaotic by-election

The by-election was called after the passing of Labour MP Sir Tony Lloyd because of leukemia in January.

Galloway’s victory came after Labour Party withdrew support two weeks ago from their own candidate Azhar Ali, who had claimed Israel had allowed the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas as a pretext to invade Gaza.

Ali has also been suspended from the party pending an investigation amid anti-Semitism accusations.

Galloway said some names of Labour MPs were “dripping in blood” after the party’s cease-fire amendment by the Scottish National Party in his election campaign when some MPs were raising concerns over their safety due to their pro-Israeli stance.

Lost Muslim support

Labour Party has been warned by its Muslim members in the beginning of February over the party leadership’s stance over Gaza, which echoed the UK’s Tory government’s policies.

Starmer has refused to call for an immediate “humanitarian” cease-fire until recently.

The Labour Muslim Network, comprising Muslim MPs, mayors, municipal councilors, and registered party members, issued a statement highlighting the deepening rift between the party and its traditionally loyal Muslim base.

The statement underscored the findings of a recent survey indicating a fracture in the longstanding bond between the Labour Party and Muslim voters, citing the party's response to the prolonged Israeli attacks in Gaza as a primary catalyst for the disenchantment.

Dozens of Muslim Labour councilors resigned from the party in October, shortly after Israeli attacks started, and in November, at least 330 Labour councilors signed a letter urging Starmer to back a cease-fire in Gaza

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